How Directing HBO’s The Last Of Us For Television Is Different From Directing A Game, According To Neil Druckmann

“Someone in the past asked me what was the most surprising part of directing live-action versus for the video game,” Druckmann says. “And actually, the surprising part was how similar it was.” Druckmann adds that “maybe that just speaks to how far games have come, as far as capturing the cinematic moments.” To be fair, few games are more innately movie-like than “The Last of Us,” the finely-crafted and award-winning Naughty Dog production that captured players’ hearts in 2013. The game has frequently been lauded for its dazzling visuals and for nuanced voice and motion capture performances from a cast led by Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson.

“Giving out direction is giving out direction,” Druckmann says, noting that the writing process is also quite similar between mediums. But there is still a noticeable change between the two productions: “The big difference is there’s a certain luxury we have in video games that when we capture a performance, we have every camera angle under the sun,” he notes. “We don’t have to worry about coverage because we have all the coverage in the world.” Druckmann says that if the game directors decide after the fact to switch a shot to a close-up, or change a character’s outfit, it’s easy to make the change after filming has wrapped. “We can change the weather, we can change the set. We could do all these things after the fact,” he explains.

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